The KnickerBlogger staff has decided to spend the 8 days prior to the draft discussing the upcoming event. Each day will feature a different question that we will attempt to answer. Feel free to join us in the comment section!
Of Towns, Okafor, Mudiay and Russell, which one is most likely to be a bust?
Kurylo: Despite my statistical background, I’m not going to say Mudiay. Sure he’s got the smallest dataset of the bunch, and his shot is questionable. But he has a few things in his favor. First he’s playing against grown men in China, which is likely to be better competition than in the watered down NCAA. Second I believe players can become better shooters. Unfortunately the riskiest one of the bunch might be Russell. He has serious questions about his defense, and struggled against an NBA caliber defender (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson).
Silverman: ¯\(°_o)/¯ –
Gibberman: This is weird, but I’m also going to say Okafor. He had weight issues in college and leading up to the draft got himself in great condition. That’s a worry. Why not be in great shape for the college season? The free throw concerns mentioned above are real too. He has the highest upside, which is why I’m willing to take a chance by some shocking development he dropped to four.
Fisher-Cohen: Easy — it’s Mudiay. The kid is an awful shooter at a position that demands shooting more than ever. And yes, you can learn to make a spot up three if you work at it. John Wall did it. Sort of. But unless you have Rajon Rondo-esque vision or John Wall-esque speed, or Russell Westbrook-esque athleticism, you need to be able to do more than just make assisted open jumpers. You need some ability to make threes off the dribble and draw big men out of the paint. If you can’t do that, any half-decent NBA defense will go under screens and force you to take shots you can’t make.
I don’t see that super-elite athleticism, vision or speed in Mudiay, and I don’t see many examples of players who have gone from Mudiay’s level shooting to becoming dangerous off the dribble shooters.
Topaz: Agree with most of what Max said, though obviously our information is crazy limited with him. It takes a special kind of athleticism to overcome being such a poor shooter and a turnover-prone point guard.
Cronin: I like him second only to Towns, but Okafor also has the biggest bust potential of these four guys, with Mudiay a close second. While I think Mudiay is the least likely of the four to become a star, I think his basic skill set is one that is just so geared towards the NBA game that his worst case scenario is not particularly awful – his “problem” is that I don’t know how likely he is to hit his best case scenario. Towns and Russell are pretty much locks to be good NBA players. Okafor is close, as well, but I think it is clear that he could at least theoretically eat himself out of the NBA. So he has a red flag that the other three don’t have.